November 21, 2023

Being Thankful

It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is upon us. This year seems to have been running at warp speed, as we faced many challenges throughout the year. But those of us in labor understand that protecting America’s working families is a full-time job.

For me, Thanksgiving is a time for taking stock of the blessings in my life. My family and friends mean the world to me, and I am so very thankful for them all. Having the opportunity to serve the great membership of UAW Region 8 is another blessing in my life. It has been almost a year since I was sworn in, and every day is a miracle. I have the honor of working with our members as we stand in the gap for working-class families. There are times when the odds seem to be stacked against us, but it is our solidarity that gives the power to our movement.

Over the past year, I have walked many picket lines across our region. I have witnessed the resolve of our members as they have fought to preserve their way of life and to make sure they are sharing in the profits the companies generate off our labor. Some strikes are quickly settled, and some drag on for weeks and months. As weeks blend into months, it is harder and harder for our members, but the power through our solidarity wins the day. Standing with you is one of my blessings.

When you look at our country, we see many things that need to change. The wealthy use their influence to try and tilt the system in their favor. Health care is not within the reach for many of our fellow citizens. Homelessness continues to be a problem across our nation. Working families’ buying power can’t keep up with escalating prices. Politicians attack our justice system and try to bully courts into giving passes to their wealthy benefactors for their actions. Too many Americans go to bed hungry every night and many lack the necessities of life. These things make me angry when we live in a land of plenty.

¬†Even with all our problems, we still live in the greatest country on Earth. When we watch the news and see fighting around the world, we don’t go to bed worrying about having a bomb tear our homes apart before we wake up. Most Americans have safe water to drink, while in many places in the world, there is no safe water. I still remember the haunting images of starving children in Ethiopia in the 1980s as their country suffered through a two-year famine that took over a million lives. Watching children die from violence in the Middle East is heartbreaking regardless of the expression of their faith. Images of destroyed homes in the Ukraine as homeless families stand next to the ruins are sights that should disturb each of us.

So yes, I am thankful this Thanksgiving that my family doesn’t have to endure these issues that others face. However, part of being thankful is understanding the suffering others face. Each of us has a responsibility to recognize our blessings and to share them. It is my Thanksgiving wish that we all take stock of our blessings and be willing to share them for the good of others. After all, THAT is what labor is all about.

On behalf of myself, Assistant Director George Palmer, and the entire Region 8 Staff, Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you. You are truly part of our blessings.

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Region 8 Director

Tim Smith

 

 

 

 

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